Price excited about new season

Updated: July 30, 2004, 2:48 AM ET
Associated Press

RENO, Nev. -- New Texas-El Paso Coach Mike Price said Thursday he was "wronged" but he's moving on after his firing at Alabama a year ago and can't wait for the football season to begin.

"I've been saying 'wait until next year' for a full year and here it is," Price said in his first appearance at the Western Athletic Conference's annual media day.

"I can't wait. I'm so honored to have this opportunity," he said.

"It is like anything else. If something you love and part of your life is taken away from you for a year, it makes this opportunity a lot more enjoyable."

Price is suing Sports Illustrated publisher Time Inc. for $20 million over the story that preceded his firing at Alabama. The magazine is appealing a judge's decision that it must reveal the identity of a source, an appeal backed by a number of national news organizations.

"I felt like I was wronged," Price told reporters Thursday.

"So yeah, I'm going to fight it. I don't like to talk about it. I'm moving on with my life. I have a good attorney to help me through that," he said.

Price attorney Steve Heninger said topless club dancer Lori Boudreaux, who received $200 from Sports Illustrated writer Don Yaeger as cab fare to come to a photo shoot for the article, is the only person who could have provided information for the story.

Sports Illustrated spokesman Rick McCabe said Wednesday the story had "multiple confidential sources," and the magazine was bound to protect the identities of all of them.

Price said Thursday he did not believe the ordeal had tarnished his image with recruits or those people who know him.

"I think it has even strengthened the type of perception people have about me. I just feel very grateful for all the friends I have and I realize I really did make a difference in people's lives," he said.

"I guess through adversity, come some real positive things," he said.

Price said he's quickly fallen in love with El Paso, where the UTEP Miners have won only two games in each of the last three years.

"The community has just received us so positive and with so much enthusiasm," he said.

Price said he introduced himself to his players dressed as a miner, with a pick.

"I did that because miners are tough. We want to emulate a miner and we want to strike gold. We are going to get down and dirty and get grubby and get after it," he said.

Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press